I have posted a few articles in the recent past on how to ask questions in order to get the information we need.  In the ongoing effort to improve communication at work with customers and co-workers I found another great article on question asking to share. (see link below).

Too many times we ask questions off the top of our head hoping that will lead to getting the answers we are looking for.  If it does not we get frustrated and so does the person we are questioning.

This is especially true at work.  Asking the right question will lead to getting a better answer. The trick is taking the time to develop the right question to ask that will prompt the person to give you the right information you are seeking.

Unless you are looking for a simple answer it may take several questions in the form of a conversation to get all of the information you are seeking.  Who has time  to play the 100 question game?

Here are four tips to getting better answers to your questions by asking bright questions and thinking outside of the box!

1. Take time to develop your question to get the information you want.  For example if you want to know where something is ask “Can you tell me exactly where BLANK is so that I can get it?”  By adding the word exactly, you will either get an answer of exactly where it is or the answer I do not know.  You do not want any answers that have “well it might be” or “I think it is” those answers do not help you.

2.If you are trying to get information regarding a situation ask open-ended questions so that the person you are speaking to will expound on their answer. Remember do not make the person guess or play 100 questions with you either.  Tell them what it is you are trying to find out from them, because unless they are a mind reader they will not be able to help you.

3. Engage the person you are speaking with, show them you care about what they are saying, and you should if you are trying to get information or answers from them.  Good eye contact and some reflection on what they are saying to you is good, this way they know you are listening to them.

(4) Ask prompting questions to let them know you want further information like “and then what happened?” and “how did that make you feel?”.  This form of questioning once you are into the conversation shows you are interested and curious and want to hear more from them.

Take the time when creating questions to ask other as it creates opportunity for both parties involved to get to know one another. By taking the time to ask the right questions your opinion or focus may change on whatever you were asking questions about.  Time is one of our most valuable assets and when you take the time in asking quality questions you are investing in getting the answers you need.

Remember it is all in how you ask the questions!

Harvard Business Review – Asking Better Questions